Tehran warns it will retaliate forcefully if Iranian Gaza-bound ship attacked

June 16, 2010
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Iran has warned that it will retaliate forcefully if the aid ship it sending to Gaza next week is attacked by Israel, its ambassador to Bahrain has said.

“The ship will carry clothes and food supplies, but not any weapons. There will be representatives from the Iranian Red Crescent, but no military force or members of the Revolution Guards,” Hossein Amir Abdullahyan said.  “There should be no impediment to the vessel reaching Gaza. Should the Zionists stupidly decide to attack the ship, Iran will respond with a bigger strike because moves by the Zionists against Iran are red lines for Tehran,” he said in Manama.

The envoy however did not explain the nature of the retaliation.

The ambassador said that his country would not be surprised by any stupidity by Israel. “Just look at the way they acted against the ship that was carrying Westerners and Americans,” he said, referring to Israel’s lethal attack last month on Mavi Marmara, a Gaza-bound Turkish-flagged ship carrying activists and humanitarian aid to besieged Palestinians. Nine people, including one Turkish-American, were killed in the raid.

Iran’s media agencies this week reported that An Iranian ship carrying food, medical supplies and medicine supplies will head towards Gaza.

“This ship will pass through waters of Oman, Yemen and Egypt before it reaches Gaza. The ship contains only humanitarian aid and there are no peace activists on board,” the agencies said.

On Monday, Hossein Salami, the deputy commander of the Revolution Guards, said in Tehran that they had “no plan to escort humanitarian aid ships to Gaza”, reversing a statement made by an official from the Revolution Guards on June 6 that the Navy was “totally prepared to escort Gaza-bound humanitarian aid ships to protect them against possible Israeli attacks.”

However, Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli prime minister’s office, said that Iran had ulterior motives.

“Iran has an interest in bolstering the Hamas government … obviously we are trying to prevent them from sending weapons to Hamas,” he told the pan-Arab TV station Al Jazeera. “The regime in Iran is the prime ally of Hamas in Gaza and they have consistently tried to send to Gaza more deadly weapons, rockets and missiles that are used against the people of Israel and Israeli civilians. And of course they have an interest in bolstering the Hamas government and in trying to undermine Israel’s naval blockade. Obviously we are trying to prevent them from sending weapons to Hamas,” he said.

Tehran is also planning to dispatch lawmakers to Gaza and Mehr News reported that Egypt had agreed to allow them to use the Rafah border crossing to travel to Gaza,.

 “We have asked the Egyptian government (to allow) the Iranian parliamentary delegation to go through the Egyptian channel to enter Gaza,” Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the chairman of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said.

Iranian MP Mahmoud Ahmadi-Biqash said that Egypt also agreed to issue visas for 70 Iranian parliamentarians who have registered to travel to the Gaza Strip.

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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